James Naughtie pleads guilty to drink driving charge 

James Naughtie, the former presenter of Radio Four’s Today programme, has been banned from the road after he was caught behind the wheel of his car while over the drink drive limit.

Naughtie, 69, was spotted getting into his car by pub staff after he had stopped off for a glass of wine at Bennet’s Bar in Morningside, Edinburgh.

The award-winning Scots journalist was traced to his nearby capital home by police officers and admitted he had been driving his vehicle that afternoon in October 2019. 

He was asked to provide a roadside breath test and was found to have 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22mg of alcohol.

The retired Radio 4 news anchor appeared in the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Tuesday under his full name of Alexander James Naughtie where he pleaded guilty to driving while over the limit.

Prosecutor Ross Price said: “Around 3pm in the afternoon the accused left Bennet’s Bar and a member of staff saw him getting into his vehicle and called police.

“Officers made enquiries and attended at the accused’s home address at 3.17pm and breathalysed him. He confirmed he was the driver that afternoon.”

Solicitor Sean Flanagan, defending, said his client had been driving to his Edinburgh home and decided to stop off at the public house "for one glass of wine".

The lawyer added Naughtie, whose address was given as Blackthorn Avenue, London, had only driven "a relatively short distance" from the bar to his home and had cooperated fully with police.

Sheriff Peter McCormack fined the shamed motorist a total of £500 and banned him from driving for 12 months.

The sheriff said Naughtie would be allowed to take part in a drink drive rehabilitation scheme if he chooses which, if passed successfully, would see his road ban reduced by three months.

The former newsman was one of the main presenters of Radio 4’s popular Today show from 1994 to 2015.

Naughtie pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle with 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath on October 20, 2019.

The father-of-three retired as an anchor for the show after 21 years but continues to appear as a Special Correspondent.

He also holds the position of BBC News Books Editor and is reported to earn around £170,000 a year as a contributor to the organisation. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2017.

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